The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent or coming.
The Advent Wreath.
The wreath is made of a circle of evergreen branches to symbolize eternal life.
The Four candles, the colors vary according to one’s practice,) stand in the circle and each one represents one of the four Sundays of Advent. In the center of the circle is a fifth candle (traditionally white) the Christ Candle, which is lit on Christmas Day.
The circle of the wreath reminds us three things:
- God, His eternity and endless mercy, which has no beginning or end.
- The green of the wreath speaks of the hope that we as followers of Christ have in Him
- The circle of the wreath reminds us of the hope of newness, of renewal, and eternal life.
The Candles on the wreath are in some ways a journey through the Christmas story. They represent the prophecies of Jesus’ coming, the events of the night and His eventual birth. The four outer candles represent the period of waiting during the four Sundays of Advent, which themselves symbolize the four centuries of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Jesus. The fifth and central candle is lit on Christmas eve, or the Sunday preceding Christmas to remind us that Jesus the Light of the world.
The five candles traditionally are: The Hope Candle sometimes called the prophets candle, telling of Jesus coming. The Peace Candle is often called the Shepherds or angels candle because of the message the angels gave the shepherds. The Love Candle representing Mary the mother of Jesus (This candle is generally pink). Lastly, The Joy Candle, this candle represents the joy of the Magi as they found the newborn Messiah and gave Him gifts.
The final and fifth candle, represents Christ and his birth as Savior and King. It represents Him who brings us light, peace and forgiveness. The central location of the Christ Candle reminds us that the incarnation, Jesus coming, is the heart of the season, giving light, and bringing joy and hope to the world.
This candle being at the center also reminds us that Jesus should be at the center of our lives, because He brings to us, the light, life, love and forgiveness of the Father.